Reading Comprehensions with Exercises

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11 different ways to Say 'Toilet' in English

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers. English Vocabulary:10 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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Everyone has to go to the toilet, yet it can be hard to know which term for “toilet” is the right one to use. This is especially true when you are in a foreign country. Slang or informal words for  “toilet” are common and students have difficulty knowing which words are rude and which words are not. Some of the words for toilet are considered polite or formal, while others are impolite and potentially offensive. Slang terms used for toilet can vary greatly from country to country. It is important to understand that a term that is appropriate in Ireland or the United Kingdom, may not be understood in the United States, and also a term that is used in Canada might not make sense in Australia. Let’s start with formal ways to say toilet…..

Bathroom (UK, Ireland, US, Australia)

Perhaps the most common way to say ‘toilet’ in the United States is to say ‘bathroom’. A bathroom usually refers to a room with a bath in it, but when Americans refer to a bathroom they usually mean a room with only a toilet and washbasin. In all English speaking countries, if you ask “where is the bathroom?”, you will be shown to a toilet.

Washroom (US)

‘Washroom’ is another formal word that most English speakers will understand. It is mostly used in the USA.

Restroom (US)

‘Restroom’ is a safe term to use in the United States and won't offend anyone. When traveling on motorways, signs may appear announcing “rest stops”. These rest stops will have toilets. In other English speaking countries, however, some people may be confused by restroom, and could even point you towards a bedroom, or somewhere else where you can rest. Men’s Room, Ladies’ Room, Little Boys’ Room” or “Little Girls’ Room (UK, Ireland, US, Australia) It is common to use the termsMen’s Room’, ‘Ladies’ Room’ when asking for the toilet. Sometimes native English speakers will use the terms ‘Little Boys’ Room’ or ‘Little Girls’ Room’, however these terms are often considered rather childish.

Ladies and Gents (UK, Ireland, Australia)

Ladies and gents are common term for men’s and women’s toilets. These are perfectly polite terms.

The Loo (UK, Ireland)

In the United Kingdom, “the loo” is a common term for toilet. ‘The loo’ is generally a safe term to use and likely won't offend anyone.

Lavatory (UK)

‘Lavatory’ is a good option for people looking for a very formal word to use in very formal occasions.  In the United Kingdom, some people will shorten lavatory to just ‘lav’ and when they do it becomes quite informal.

Informal and slang ways to say toilet

Bog (UK, Ireland)

‘Bog’ is another other common term in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is not rude but is considered informal.

Jacks (Ireland)

In Ireland, the ‘jacks’ is a very common way to refer to a toilet. If you are having a drink in an ordinary pub it is ok to use but if you are in a fancy restaurant it is considered rude.

The John (US)

Some people in the United States will also use the term ‘the John’. This is quite informal. While it is generally okay to use this term among friends, if said at the wrong time, it might offend people.


The word ‘dunny’ is used in Australia and New Zealand to refer to toilet.

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1.slang - (noun) very informal language
  • Some types of slang are rude or offensive.
2. rude - (adjective) impolite or bad-mannered
  • John thought the woman who pushed to the front of the queue was extremely rude.
3. offensive - (adjective) causing someone to be upset or annoyed, also means aggressive
  • Mary found the customer’s bad manners offensive.
4. appropriate - (adjective) suitable, proper
  • When you are going hiking in the mountains you should wear appropriate shoes.
5. washbasin - (noun) a sink or hand basin for washing hands and face
  • Frank always washes his hands in the washbasin after using the toilet.
6. motorways - (noun) a large two way road where traffic can travel long distances quickly
  • The speed limit on motorways is 120 kilometers per hour.
7. childish - (adjective) silly and immature
  • Don’t be so childish!
8. To offend sb - to make someone upset or angry
  • John’s work colleague was offended he wasn’t invited to John’s wedding.
9. occasions - (noun) a time when an event takes place
  • Weddings are very special occasions
10. shorten - (verb) to make shorter
  • People often shorten the word “advertising” to “ad”.

Practice Exercises in English

Mix and Match Exercises Match the toilet name to the country where it is used.

The Loo                                                         Ireland The Restroom                                            USA The Dunny                                                           UK The Jacks                                                     Australia The John                                                      USA

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. Rappers often use …………..  language in their rap songs. (causing upset or anger)
  2. Mary is a very kind person but she is very ………….. . (silly and immature)
  3. Sarah brushed her teeth at the public …………..  in the airport. (sink)
  4. Speaking loudly on the phone on public transport is not …………..  behaviour. (proper, suitable)
  5. Smoking cigarettes …………..  your life. (makes shorter)
  6. Young people often use new …………..  expressions that older people don’t understand. (informal)
  7. On many …………..  I have been caught in the rain without an umbrella. (times)
  8. It is …………..  to chew food with your mouth open. (impolite)

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The Top 7 Phobias People Have

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

English Vocabulary:19 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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*Note: Don’t worry if you can’t pronounce these fears, most native English speakers can’t either :)


We are all afraid of something, but a few things are more widely feared than others. Let’s take a look at the world's top seven phobias, and also some interesting unusual fears people have.

1. Arachnophobia - fear of spiders

Very few spiders pose a threat to human beings. In fact, a cat or dog is probably more of a threat to a person than your average spider. That doesn't stop people from being afraid of spiders, however, as arachnophobia is actually the most widely held fear. 48% of women and 12% of men are afraid of these eight-legged creatures.

2. Ophidiophobia - fear of snakes

Following close behind arachnophobia is ophidiophobia, which is a fear of snakes. While some venomous and large snakes do pose a threat to humans, your average garden snake is essentially harmless.

3. Acrophobia - fear of heights

Are you afraid of heights? If so, you're not alone. Over 10% of people are afraid of heights. Unlike many of our primate relatives, humans didn't evolve to live in trees, but instead on flat ground. Aerophobia, or the fear of flying, is also common.

4. Agoraphobia - fear of open or public places

Since humans evolved to live on the ground, most of us should love wide open spaces, right? It turns out that many people are actually afraid of crowded or open spaces! This is called agoraphobia, and comes in at number four on the list.

5. Cynophobia - fear of dogs

Dogs may be considered  ‘man's best friends’, but nonetheless, many people are afraid of them. Given their sharp teeth, dogs can be a threat to humans, and especially children. Most dogs, however, would rather play fetch than attack a person.

6. Astraphobia- fear of storms

Thunder and lightning can make just about anyone jump. For people who suffer from astraphobia, however, their fear of thunder and lightning goes far deeper than the initial surprise. For many, it's an actual phobia.  Maybe they shouldn’t visit tropical countries!

7. Claustrophobia - fear of small spaces

Many people don't like small spaces, such as elevators. For some, the walls can feel like they are closing in, they feel like they’re trapped and that they can’t breathe. Some people even have nightmares that they are going to be buried alive.

Three Unique Honorable Mentions

1. Sidonglobophobia - fear of cotton balls

Believe it or not, a good number of people are afraid of cotton balls. Something as simple as a q-tip can cause a panic attack. Of course, many of us would probably be more afraid of having to pronounce “sidonglobophobia” than having to touch cotton balls.

2. Telephonophobia - fear of telephones

It's fun to try to say “telephonophobia” really fast. It is hard to believe in this day and age that people can be afraid of phones as nearly everyone has one. They are lucky that there are email or other forms of communication that don't involve telephones.

3. Pogonophobia - fear of beards

Beards have made a big comeback in recent years and are now considered very stylish. That's bad news for people who suffer from pogonophobia, which refers to a fear of bearded men.

Conclusion: So Many People, So Many Fears

There are literally hundreds of different phobias and many people are often afraid of things that are not very threatening. That might mean spiders, cotton balls, or just about anything else. I guess that is what makes each of us unique!

So how about you?  What are you afraid of? Tell us in the comments below!

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. pose a threat - are dangerous
  • Animals with young children can get aggressive if they think that you pose a threat to their children.
2. eight-legged - have eight legs 3. Phobias - (pl noun) an extreme or irrational fear of something 4. Venomous - (adj) poisonous, has venom inside which is released when they bite (talking about animals. Eg. snake) 5. harmless - (adj) cannot cause harm, not dangerous, not intended to cause harm
  • I told a harmless joke about my sister at her birthday party but she got upset. (not intended to cause harm
6. primate - group of mammals which include monkeys, humans, apes etc. 7. It turns out that - the final result is/was ………. *To turn out (phrasal verb) -  to develop a particular way or to have a particular result
  • He is sad because his life didn’t turn out as he expected.
  • I was very nervous about my graduation speech but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
8. Nonetheless - nevertheless, despite what has just been said or done,however
  • The old woman has only 100 euros left in her bank account. Nonetheless, she decided to give 70 euros to charity at Christmas.
9. play fetch -  a game where the owner of the dog throws a ball, stick, toy and the dogs runs to get it and bring it back to the owner.
  • Dogs get excited when they go to the park to play fetch
10. Thunder and lightning - loud noise and bright flashes of light that happen before or during a storm
  • My sister's dog is afraid of thunder and lightning. He hides under the bed when it starts.
11. Initial - first *Initials - first letters of your first and last name used to sign a document.
  • The manager asked me to write my initials on the employment contract.
12. Elevators - lift
  • We were stuck in the elevator for 3 hours during the storm.
13. closing in - getting nearer or closer to someone *To close in on sb - to get closer or nearer to someone (usually someone that is trying to escape)
  • The police closed in on the thief who was hiding in the forest.
14. a good number of - (quantifying phrase) a significant number of sth
  • He sold a good number of products for the company.
15. Q-tip - a small stick with cotton on each end that you use to clean the inside of your ears 16. A panic attack - (noun) a sudden feeling of extreme fear or panic
  • Almost 47% of people have had a panic attack in their life.
17. made a big comeback -  (Expression) become popular or fashionable again *To make a (big) comeback - to return to success after failure or retirement (somebody) / to become popular or fashionable again (things e.g styles or cloths)
  • 80’s style clothes are making a big comeback in London.
18. Bearded - (adj) have hair on their face (a beard)
  • Most of the men in the TV show Game of Thrones are bearded men.
19. Literally - (adverb) used for emphasis meaning “actually”. If you say sth “literally happened” it means you are not exaggerating and it actually happened.
  • He literally drank the whole bottle of whiskey himself.

Practice Exercises in English

Reading Comprehension Questions: True or False ? Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.

  1. Most spiders are dangerous to humans.
  2. Twice as many women are afraid of spiders than men.
  3. Most garden snakes are not dangerous.
  4. More than 10% of people are afraid of heights.
  5. Beards are not very popular anymore.
  6. Some people with claustrophobia have bad dreams.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. Monkeys and apes are ……………. (group of mammals like monkeys)
  2. Peanuts are ……………. to most people but can kill people who are allergic to them. (not dangerous)
  3. My sister has a ………... of snakes. Even if she sees a snake on TV she gets scared. (irrational fear)
  4. I didn’t follow the recipe when making the cake but it ………. ……. fine. (the end result was..)
  5. My ……….. impression of China was that they people were very friendly. (first)
  6. In some parts of Asia they have …………………………. everyday during the summer. (stormy weather)
  7. The couple ………... spent all their savings on their new home. (actually)
  8. There were ………………... people at Tom’s birthday party. (a significant number of)
  9. It was snowing heavily on the football pitch. …………..., they two football teams decided to play the match. (However, nevertheless)
  10. The walls felt like they were ……………. (getting nearer or closer)
  11. Lots of students get …….. ……….. the week before their exams. (sudden feeling of extreme fear)
  12. Advances in technology …………… to jobs in the manufacturing industry. (are dangerous)
  13. There are more …………… snakes in the world than venomous spiders. (poisonous)
  14. The singer is …………………….. after taking a 5 year break from music. (becoming popular again)

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What is Brexit and What Does a Leave Vote Mean?

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers. English Vocabulary16 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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Like many other countries in Europe, the United Kingdom (or UK) is part of the European Union – but that is about to change. On the 23rd of June 2016, British people voted to leave the European Union. This has become known as ‘Brexit’, a combination of the words ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’.

What is the European Union?

The EU, as it’s more commonly known, is a group of European countries who have all signed up to a series of agreements. Members of the EU can trade freely with each other without having to pay fees, and people who were born in an EU country can live and work in any other EU country without needing a visa. The member countries often have similar laws, especially about development and agriculture.

What happens now?

At the moment (April 2018) the UK is still a member of the European Union. After the vote they had to inform the rest of the EU about their decision by triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The UK and the EU are currently in two years of negotiations to try to reach new agreements on trade and the movement of people.

Effect on the economy

Directly after the Brexit vote, the value of the UK’s money - the pound - dropped quickly. This was good news for any company who buys things in the UK and sells them abroad, but bad news for anyone trying to sell in Britain. Many people were predicting that Brexit would cause a recession. So far the British economy is fairly steady, but there are some worrying signs, such as the housing market slowing down and stock prices falling. So far, employment has not been affected too much. The UK will be looking for new trading partners after their agreements with the EU are finished, so we could see the UK trying to strengthen their relationships with current partners such as the USA, Canada, China or Saudi Arabia.

Other consequences

Europeans living and working in the UK may eventually need to apply for a visa so that they can stay. Whether or not that happens depends on the result of the UK’s negotiations with the EU. There are also many Brits living in Europe, who may also either need to apply for a visa for the country they are currently living in or go back to the UK. It is unlikely that Brexit will have much of an effect on tourist visas; the UK will still want tourists to visit the country and they already have a reciprocal agreement with many countries to allow its citizens visa-free entry.   The UK will soon be able to make its own laws on things previously controlled by the EU, such as fishing quotas or employment rights.   In the end, we won’t know the real effects of leaving the European Union until the UK and the EU have finished negotiating, which will be several years from now. One thing is for sure; it is in both the UK and Europe’s best interests to make sure the change is a smooth one.

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

  1. trade freely -  to exchange good and services, do business together without paying taxes and tariffs. *Freely - (adverb) do sth without restrictions or limitations
  • Countries in the EU can trade freely with each other.
  • Visitors from outside the EU cannot move freely in the EU. They need to have visas to visit the different countries.
  1. triggering Article 50 - causing Article 50 to be used or enacted.
  2. Treaty - (noun) an agreement between two or more countries or states.
  • The two countries signed a peace treaty.
  1. negotiations - (pl noun) talks or discussions people have when they are trying to agree on something
  • The negotiations between the two companies lasted for 3 weeks. Finally they agreed to work together.
  1. to reach new agreements - to agree on an agreement / to agree to something after sometime
  • After 3 days of negotiations the two companies reached a deal.
  1. Predicting - saying what will happen in the future *To predict (verb) - to try to say what will happen in the future
  • No one predicted the economic crisis in 2008.
  1. a recession - a period of time when the economy declines.
  • There is a recession happening in many countries in Europe.
  1. the British economy is fairly steady - quite stable and secure *Fairly - (adverb) quite , rather *Steady - (adjective) stable, not balanced or moving (sth physical) / consistent, secure, unchanging (job, economy)
  • The table is steady so it doesn’t move a lot.
  • The new restaurant in town is nice but it is fairly expensive.
  1. stock prices - pieces of company, group of shares, sold on the stock market
  • My friend owns some stock in Facebook.
  1. 10. to strengthen -  to make sth stronger
  • The government said that investing in industry will strengthen the economy.
  1. Whether or not that happens - it will happen or it won’t depending on the result of sth else *Whether  - if, or not
  • My sister got offered a new job but she doesn’t know whether to accept it or not. (if she should accept it or if she shouldn't accept it)
  1. Unlikely - not probable, sth probably won’t happen
  • England are unlikely to win the world cup.
  1. reciprocal agreement - an agreement where two people or groups agree to give each other the same treatment, benefits or advantages.
  • Ireland and England signed a reciprocal agreement to to allow people to travel without a passport between the two countries.
  1. fishing quotas - official limits of fish that you can catch *quotas - official limits or fixed number of things
  • Canada has a quota on immigration every year. (there is a limit on how many people can enter Canada to live and work)
  1. in both the UK and Europe’s best interests - it will benefit the UK and Europe *to be in sb’s best interest to do sth - (expression) it benefits sb to do sth
  • My parents told me it is in my best interest to be polite to my teacher.
  1. a smooth one - (adjective) easy, without any problems *It is more normal to use the adverb ‘Smoothly’ Smoothly - (adverb) without problems or difficulties
  • My exams went smoothly.

Practice Exercises in English

Comprehension Questions Find the answers to these questions in the article..

  1. What is Brexit?
  2. Why is it called 'Brexit'?
  3. How did the UK inform the rest of their decision?.
  4. What negative effects has the Brexit vote had on the British economy?
  5. What is the consequence of Brexit relating to the movement of people?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ? Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.

  1. By triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the UK was immediately no longer part of the EU.
  2. The drop in value of the pound had a positive effect for some companies.
  3. After the Brexit vote, the UK has entered into a recession.
  4. The UK is trying to find new trade partners outside of Europe.
  5. Brexit means that all tourists going to the UK will need a visa.
  6. One benefit of Brexit is that the UK can make its own laws relating to employment rights.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. My sisters and I bought my dad a present for his birthday but I don’t know …………………….. he will like it. (if he will or will not)
  2. Bob used to work a few times per month but now he has a ………… job in a company. (secure, stable)
  3. It …………………………… to learn English if you want to work in international business. (it will benefit you)
  4. The police operation went ………… and the criminals were arrested. (without problems or difficulties)
  5. The weatherman said it is ………… to snow tomorrow. (not probable)
  6. Some people believe that they can ………… the future. (say what will happen)
  7. I ………… an agreement with my boss where I can work 2 days from home and 3 days from the office. (made, agreed)
  8. Lifting weights in the gym will ………… your muscles. (make stronger)

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Ten Ways to Say Someone is Beautiful or Sexy in English

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers. English Vocabulary:11 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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*(These words are common in most English speaking countries unless marked)


There are dozens of ways to say someone is beautiful in English, and they all have subtly different meanings. If you read a lot or watch English-language television then you will surely have come across at least some of these.


This can also be used in a non-romantic way for children and animals, and is usually seen as more innocent and family-friendly than some of the others on this list.

The way she bites her lip when she’s thinking is so cute.

Dishy (UK)

This is more often used to describe a man than a woman. It means that he is very handsome or attractive and usually fairly charming too.

The nurses all want to date the dishy doctor from Cardiology.

Easy on the eyes

This phrase means pleasant to look at, and it can refer to an object as well as a person. It’s a fairly relaxed way to talk about someone.

I’ll watch movie that has Angelina Jolie in it – she’s very easy on the eyes.


This is an old one – think of the song ‘He’s So Fine’ from 1963 – but it’s still used as slang today. It means the person looks nice and that you are attracted to them. It also implies that they’ve made an effort with their appearance.

That guy is so fine, I’m going to ask him out.

*a fine thing = used in Ireland to describe someone you are attracted to. *She is a fine thing.

Fit (not used in the US)

The main meaning of ‘fit’ is that the person is healthy and exercises a lot, but it has also come to mean attractive, and especially someone with a nice body.

Wow, that guy standing at the bar is so fit!


Think of the Jimi Hendrix song “Foxy Lady. A slightly old-fashioned one, but still sometimes used today. It is normally used to describe a woman and means that she is very physically attractive.

I’m looking for a foxy lady to take out to dinner.


A very commonly used description of either an attractive man or woman, gorgeous can also be used for a lovely view, a nice dress, or really anything that you think is pretty.

I saw a gorgeous guy on the bus but he didn’t notice me.


This one is closest to ‘sexy’ in that it implies a definite sexual interest in the person you’re describing.

She looks so hot in that dress.


This is quite old-fashioned and has more of a romantic than a sexual feel to it. Ravishing is just about the most beautiful you can possibly look.

She came down the stairs looking ravishing in her new black dress


Stunning literally means that you feel stunned or speechless when you look at someone. It can be used to describe a man or a woman, and means impressively or shockingly attractive.

Look at that woman at the bar. She is stunning! She’s incredibly beautiful.

A babe

The word ‘babe’ comes from ‘baby’ and is also used as a term of affection between couples. A boyfriend can call his girlfriend ‘babe’. Saying someone is a ‘babe’ means you think they are beautiful.

Rihanna is a babe.

As with any new vocabulary, the best way to learn is to use the words as much as possible. So get out there and people-watch with your friends, so you can discuss who is cute and who is stunning!

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. Dozens - (pl noun) group of 12
  • I bought a dozen eggs in the supermarket.
2. subtly different meanings - (adverb)  different meanings that are faint and hard to notice. *Subtle - (adjective) delicate, slight, almost unnoticeable
  • Some words in English have a subtle difference in pronunciation.
  • There was a subtle taste of whiskey in the cake.

  • He looked at the woman subtly.

3. come across at least some of these - encountered or seen (by chance) before *To come across sth (Phrasal Verb) - to encounter, see something (by chance) before
  • “I have never come across that problem before” said the computer technician
4. Family-friendly - (adjective) suitable for families / suitable to be used in front of families with young children.
  • The hotel is family-friendly. It has a creche for kids.
5. usually fairly charming too *Fairly - (adverb) quite, more than average but less than “very” *Charming (adjective) - delightful, attractive - If somebody is charming they are able to make people like them or become attracted to them (usually attracted in a sexual way)
  • He is fairly tall.
  • Charming men always get what they want.
6. It also implies that - (verb: To imply) to hint or communicate an idea or feeling
  • I asked my girlfriend if she wanted to come running with me and she thought I was implying that she needed to lose weight.
7. slightly old-fashioned - a little bit traditional or out of use/style *Slightly -  (adverb) a little bit, by a small amount *Old-fashioned - old style, not modern (sth) / traditional or conservative in the way of thinking or acting (sb)
  • The pizza we got in the restaurant was slightly burned but it still tasted good.
  • The expressions he uses are so old-fashioned. Nobody speaks like that anymore.
8. Literally -  in a literal manner - it means exactly as the word indicates
  • When you translate something literally from one language to another if often doesn’t make sense
9. Stunned - (adjective) - in a state of shock and unable to react 10. Speechless - (adjective) unable to speech due to shock or surprise 11. People-watch - spend time observing or looking at other people in a public place
  • I like to sit in a cafe and people-watch when I am on holidays in a different country.

Practice Exercises in English

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. The hotel was …………. expensive. (quite)
  2. The movie is not …………. . There is too much violence. (suitable for families)
  3. My parents are very …………. . They don’t agree with two people living together before they are married. (traditional in the way they think)
  4. Scientists have ……  ……. a new species of bird in the forest. (found by chance, encountered)
  5. There were ………….  of people waiting to get into the cafe this morning. (group of 12)
  6. Her boss in her new job is quite …………. . (delightful, attractive)
  7. Although he didn’t say it directly, the CEO’s speech ………….  that he might soon leave the company. (communicated an idea or feeling, hinted)
  8. I like to sit in a cafe and …………. .. when I am on holidays in a different country. (actively observe people)

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10 Unusual Foods People Eat in Europe

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

English Vocabulary:22 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE


Just about every country, region, and culture has its own unusual foods. Often, these foods can seem gross or weird to people who are not from the region. Yet in many cases these unusual foods are actually tasty delicacies. With its long history and varied cultures, Europe is home to some of the strangest foods in the world. The immense differences in climate, ranging from the arctic climate of Scandinavia to the warm and mild Mediterranean weather found in Southern Europe,  have led to widely differing agricultural practices. This, in turn, has led to a variety of different food cultures. So let's take a look at ten of the weirdest foods found in Europe.

1.  Surstömming

Arguably the most pungent specialty from Europe is Sweden's Surstömming, or rotten fish. The fish is fermented for 1 to 2 months before being canned. The smell released after opening a can is so strong that many airliners ban it.

2. Casu Marzu

Many cheeses are heavily fermented, but Casu Marzu from Sardinia takes fermenting to a new level. The cheese contains live maggots, and is made by letting sheep's milk cheese rot outside.

3. Andouillette sausage

France is famous for its fine cuisine, but you might want to skip the Andouillette sausage. This sausage contains parts of the colon and intestines of pigs, and is described by many as smelling like pig offal.

4. Smalahove

If you happen to find yourself in Norway around Christmas time, you might find yourself being served Smalahove, or boiled lamb's head. The brain is removed, and then the head is salted and boiled. Eyes are usually eaten first as they're the most tender.

5. Lappkok

Reindeer are a popular Christmas symbol, and Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer is often considered Santa's best friend. That doesn't stop people in Finland and parts of Sweden from enjoying Lappkok, a dumpling made of reindeer blood and bone marrow mixed in with wheat.

6. Haggis

Haggis might be the most well-known food on this list as it is the national dish of Scotland. Haggis is basically a pudding made of oatmeal, sheep's stomach, heart, lungs, and other organs.

7. Black Pudding

Somewhat similar to Haggis, black pudding is made of animal blood, most often pig’s blood, mixed in with oatmeal and a variety of herbs and spices. Black pudding is usually eaten in Ireland and the UK.

8. Kokoretsi

Greek food is quite popular around the world. Many people, however, wouldn't want to eat Kokoretsi. This dish is made of lamb or goat intestines wrapped around the animal’s internal organs, including hearts, lungs, and kidneys.

9.  Nozki

Nozki is a unique dish from Poland. The word Nozki literally translates to “cold feet”, and the dish is made of pig’s feet cooked in herbs and spices, and set in gelatin. The dish is generally well-regarded for its savory taste.

10. Paardenrookvlees

Paardenrookvleesis quite the mouthful isn't it? Paardenrookvlees refers to horse meat, and is often eaten in the Netherlands and elsewhere across Europe. In fact, smoked horse meat is a common sandwich filling in these countries.

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. Gross - (adj) extremely unpleasant, disgusting, horrible, ugly, repulsive.
  • My sister thinks the smell of cigarettes is gross.
  • The girl was beautiful but she said she felt gross in the bikini.

2. Delicacies (pl Noun) - a food choice that is hard to find and expensive and considered good to eatStrange animal parts are considered delicacies in some countries 3. ranging from - to be between two type of limits, for example...numbers, age, colour, price etc. *To range from ……………. (phrase)
  • There were people of all ages at the event ranging from children of 5 years old to older people in their 80’s
4. Mild - (adj) not strong, intense or extreme
  • I prefer a curry that is mild. I don’t like spicy food.
  • *dish from India that uses chilli and is normally hot and spicy.
5. Widely - (adverb) very or very much / by a large amount of people
  • Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is widely accepted by scientists.
6. Pungent - (adj) strong smelling / strong or sharp smell
  • There was a pungent smell of smoke and whiskey in the house the morning after the party.
  • There is a pungent smell of chemicals in the factory.
7. rotten - (adj) if food is rotten it is decomposed or decomposing and smells bad
  • If you eat food that is rotten you could get sick.
8. Fermented - (adj) if sth is ‘fermented’ it has live bacteria in it which changes its state
  • Fermented foods are good for you.
9.  “takes fermenting to a new level” - to improve or develop fermenting further *To take sth to a new level - (expression) to take sth that is already successful
  • and improve or develop it greatly
  • The new CEO said he wants to take the company to a new level
10. Maggots - (pl noun) small larva that come from a fly's eggs that appear on rotten food.
  • If you leave food out and the flies come there will be maggots on it in two days.
11. Offal - internal organs of an animal used as food
  • Most people don’t like foods that contains animal offal.
12. If you happen to - if by chance you….. *To happen to do sth - to do sth by chance
  • If you happen to meet John at the club tell him I will call him tomorrow.
13. Boiled - (adj) cooked in heated water which starts to bubble
  • My favourite type of eggs are boiled eggs.
14. Tender - (adj) (talking about food) soft, easy to cut, bite and chew.
  • The meat was beautiful. It was so tender.
15. Dumpling - (noun) type of food from Asia.
  • We ate dumpling in the Chinese restaurant.
16. bone marrow - (noun) tissue inside the bones in a body/animal
  • Bone marrow soup is becoming very popular health food.
17. Lungs - (pl noun) part of the body that is used for breathingAfter the race his lungs felt like they were new. 18. Kidneys - (pl noun) organs in the body
  • The sick man needed a kidney transplant.
19. Well-regarded - (compound adjective) if sth is well-regarded then people have a good opinion of it (can be used for people too) *Well-regarded….as (adj + prep)
  • Miles Davis is well-regarded as a Jazz musician.
  • The restaurant is well-regarded by people in the city.
20. Savory - (adj) if sth is savory it tastes good and has a lot of flavour, usually it is salty an not a sweet dish
  • Do you prefer sweet or savory food?
21. is quite the mouthful - means sth is long and hard to pronounce
  • His name was quite the mouthful so I just called him Tim.
22. Smoked - (adj) a way something is cooked using smoke
  • Smoked fish is popular in Sweden.

Practice Exercises in English


Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. This year the winter in the UK was ………….. .It didn’t even snow. (not strong or intense)
  2. The restaurant serves lots of ………….. dishes. (not sweet, salty, tasty)
  3. The man ………….. the water to make tea. (heated)
  4. The famous guitar player Jimi Hendrix took blues music …………….... (developed it greatly)
  5. Frogs legs are considered a ………….. in France. (hard to find, expensive and considered good to eat)
  6. The apple was ………….. so I threw it in the bin. (bad)
  7. Japanese people eat a lot of ………….. food. (has good bacteria)
  8. Some words in German are ………………………...! (long and hard to pronounce)
  9. The price for a new BMW …… …….. 25,000 euros to 120,000 euros. (between two prices)
  10. If you ……… ….. find a wallet in the park it is mine. I lost it when I was running there. (by chance)

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE

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10 Classic Chat Up Lines in English

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

10 Classic Chat Up Lines in English

English Vocabulary-17 words English Level-Intermediate - Advanced

Download Reading Exercises and Answers Worksheets - HERE

Chat up lines are usually intended for men to start talking to women in bars, although they’re famous for being completely useless. They’ve become more of a joke than a real conversation starter – use them on your friends to make them laugh, but stick to politely introducing yourself to people you want to get to know better.
Let’s take a look at some of the most famous chat up lines. You never know, someone might use one of these on you one day. 

Number 1

Guy - Did you hurt yourself when you fell? Girl - Fell? Guy - Did it hurt when you fell from heaven?

This one is probably the oldest and most famous. It’s suggesting that the woman must be an angel because she is so beautiful, and that she got from heaven to earth by falling.

Number 2

Line: It's handy that I have my library card because I'm totally checking you out.

You ‘check out’ a library book when you borrow it from the library, but you ‘check out’ a person when you are looking intently at someone you’re attracted to. So this is a play on words, or a pun.

Number 3

Line: I hope you know CPR, because you take my breath away.

CPR is a type of first aid where you breathe into someone’s mouth to keep them alive until an ambulance arrives. You might think that someone who has their breath taken away would need CPR, but in fact it means that the person can’t breathe because they have seen someone so beautiful.

Number 4

Line: Is your name Wi-Fi? Because we have a connection.

Of course Wi-Fi is a wireless ‘connection’ to the internet, but you can also say you have a ‘connection’ with someone if you get on really well and have a lot of things in common.

Number 5

Line: Is your name Gillette? Because you’re the best a man can get.

Gillette is a brand of razor that used to run an advert with the slogan Gilette, the best a man can get”; in other words, the woman being complimented is the best a man could possibly hope to meet.  

Number 6

Line: Can I borrow a quarter? I want to call my mom and tell her I just met the girl of my dreams.

This classic old American line is actually quite sweet. It’s telling the person you’re talking to that you think she might be the girl of your dreams. (a quarter is 25 cents in the US and you used to need to pay a quarter to use a payphone)

Number 7

Line: You look like a parking ticket - because you've got fine written all over you.

‘Fine’ can have two different meanings; it is usually money you have to pay if you park in the wrong place and get a parking ticket. But if you describe a person as ‘fine’, that means they are good-looking and attractive.

Number 8

Line: Is it hot in here or is it just you?

Similar to the one above, it jokes about the two meanings of ‘hot’; the weather can be hot, or someone who looks very handsome or beautiful is hot.

Number 9

Line: If I could rewrite the alphabet I would put 'U' and 'I' together.

Another really old line! U and I are letters, but this sounds the same as saying ‘You and I’. In other words, you want to get closer to the person you’re speaking to.

Number 10

Line: Did your licence get suspended for driving all these guys crazy?

On its own, ‘drive’ usually refers to driving a car, which is why the joke mentions a license, but to drive someone crazy can mean to make someone madly in love with you. There you are! Love them or hate them, you have to admit that some of them are quite funny and could make you smile.

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. Chat up lines - (noun phrase) phrases used to start a conversation with someone that shows you are interested in them romantically. *to chat up - (phrasal verb) to talk to someone in a flirtatious way because you are interested in them romantically.
  • Bob uses the same chat up lines on women every time. He’s so unoriginal.
2. to stick to sth- (Phrasal verb) to keep doing one thing without changing
  • You should stick to talking about music, you know nothing about politics.
3. heaven - (noun) a paradise where some religions believe people go to after they die
  • Grandma has died and gone to heaven.
4. handy - (adjective)  convenient, useful
  • It was handy that Jane had a spare tyre in her car when she got a puncture.
5. checking you out - (phrasal verb: to check sb out)  to look at someone to see how attractive they are *to check out sth- (phrasal verb) to take something (e.g. books) out of somewhere (e.g. a library) while keeping a record of the item and of who took it out, such as taking books out of a library
  • John was checking out your sister
6. intently - (adverb) with a lot of attention and focus
  • Mary stared intently at the screen because the movie was so tense.
7. a play on words / a pun - (noun) a humorous use of language with a double meaning
  • The name of the hairdressers “Curl up and dye” is a play on words because “dye” sounds like “die”.
8. first aid - (noun) basic medical help given to a sick or injured person before they can be helped by professionals
  • Mary had to do a first aid course to learn what to do if there was a medical emergency at work.
9. have a lot of things in common - have a lot of similarities or similar interests
  • Bob and Frank both love football, beer and Italian food. They have a lot of things in common.
10. a brand - (noun) a product with a certain recognisable name made by a company
  • What is your favourite brand of breakfast cereal?
11. razor - (noun) an instrument with a blade used to remove hair
  • Frank uses a razor to shave his face every morning.
12. slogan - (noun) a phrase used in advertising that is easy to remember
  • “I’m lovin’ it” is a famous slogan used by McDonald’s.
13. complimented (verb: to compliment sb) to say something nice or flattering about a person
  • Bob complimented John on his photography skills.
14. sweet - (adjective) pleasant or agreeable, kind or thoughtful
  • Jane has a sweet singing voice
  • It was sweet of you to get me such a nice birthday gift
15. payphone - (noun) a public phone that you have to pay to use 16. parking ticket - (noun) a ticket you get for parking illegally that says you have to pay a fine
  • Mary got a parking ticket for parking on a double yellow line.
17. good-looking - (adjective) attractive, beautiful, handsome
  • Bob thought John’s sister was a good-looking girl.
18. licence - (noun) a permit from an authority that gives written permission to do something
  • When Mary passed her driving test she got her first driving licence.
19. to drive someone crazy - (idiomatic expression) to make someone go insane or mad (used non-literally), to really annoy or irritate someone.
  • Jane was so beautiful she drove all the guys crazy. (because they were so in love with her)
20. madly in love - (expression) deeply in love or extremely in love
  • John and Mary were madly in love with each other.

Practice Exercises in English

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. The couple gazed ………….. at each other during their romantic dinner. (with a lot of attention and focus)
  2. The sound of nails on a blackboard …… ….. ……….. (make me insane, really annoys or irritates me)
  3. You won’t lose weight if you don’t …… ….. your exercise plan. (keep doing)
  4. When John fell and broke his leg Frank gave him …… …..  until the ambulance arrived. (first medical attention)
  5. Sarah only wears famous ………... like Chanel. (products with recognisable names)
  6. Bob went to the library and ………. ……... 3 books about butterflies. (took out)
  7. Frank spends his Saturday nights in bars ………. ……...  girls. (talking in a flirtatious way)
  8. Frank’s parents were ……  …. ……...  when they were young. (deeply in love)
  9. It is very …………. to have an extra battery for your phone in case the normal battery dies.  (convenient, useful)
  10. Frank ……………. Jane on her new hair style. (say sth good about someone)
  11. Most women think George Clooney is a ……………... guy (handsome, beautiful)
  12. Coca Cola use the …………. Always Coca Cola(memorable phrase)

Download Reading Exercises and Answers Worksheets - HERE

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5 places you need to visit in Europe

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers. English Vocabulary:22 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE


Discovering ancient monuments, eating sensational food and experiencing new adventures make the perfect holiday. Thankfully, Europe has something for everyone, but narrowing down the top places in Europe to visit is a difficult task especially with so many unique and interesting cities to discover. London and Paris are indeed wonderful cities to explore.  However, there are many other beautiful and interesting places worth a visit. Check out these cities when you decide to do a little exploring!

Number 5: Verdun

Verdun in France is probably most famous for the battle fought there during World War I. During this time, much of the town was destroyed. It has since been rebuilt but there are still surrounding areas left in ruins as a reminder of the past. Battle-scarred hills and war memorials can be seen, as well as an 11th century cathedral, which has been restored. A must-visit place for history buffs and anyone interested in World War I history.

Number 4:  Bruges

(Source: Bruges is packed with people exploring its narrow lanes and ancient buildings, but don’t let that stop you from checking it out. Stepping into this city is like stepping back in time. The streets are cobblestoned in much of the city. There are lots of old buildings to see and traditional food to taste. You’ll feel part of the medieval world.

Number 3: Bulgaria

(Source: Bulgaria is an entire country that had, until recently, been largely overlooked by tourists. An ancient nation, it holds important information about people and civilizations past. Tombs and monuments, temples and jewels, all exist from the time of ancient Thrace. This is a country that has such a rich past and beautiful modern culture that anyone would enjoy.

Number 2: Valencia

(Source: If you’re interested in delicious food and stunning parks, Valencia is the place for you. This city is large - Spain’s third largest - but it is not as busy as some other places in the country. Valencia is renowned for its futuristic modern architecture and charming traditional neighbourhoods.

Number 1: Kvarner Islands, Croatia

(Source: Croatia used to be a secret of a few travellers. Now, however, it is a popular tourist spot but there are still places to check out that are less well known. The Kvarner Gulf, with its unique islands, features all the aspects of Croatian culture that attract visitors. There are mountains, quiet fishing villages, warm waters to swim in and the flora on these islands is large, lush and tropical. Croatia is definitely worth a visit.

Travel broadens the mind, so grab your bags and go!!!!

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. Sensational - (adjective) amazing, incredible
  • She looked sensational in her new dress
2. narrowing down the top places in Europe - making the list of places to visit smaller / choosing a few of the best places to visit from the big list of possibilities. *To narrow down sth - (Phrasal verb) to make a number or list of things smaller, by removing the things that are least important, necessary, or suitable
  • When I wanted to buy a car. I liked 6 cars I saw and drove. I have narrowed the list down to my favourite two cars but it is difficult to choose which one I will buy.
3. task - a piece of work, a small single job not lasting a long time, a responsibility (in work)
  • In my job I have the task of hiring new staff.
4. Check out these cities - have a look at these cities / try and visit these cities *to check out sth - to have a look at sth / to try sth new / to visit sw new
  • My friend is checking out the price of flights to France for next month.
5. in ruins - in a state of destruction, destroyed
  • The city was in ruins after the earthquake.
  • The house was in ruins after the birthday party. (non-literal - means ‘a mess’)
6. Battle-scarred hills - this means that the hills still have physical signs or “scars” of the battle that happened during the war. *Battle - a fight between two armies in a war. *Scarred - to have a mark of a “scar” on your body after a cut, damage or injury.
  • The prisoners back was scarred from the torture he received in prison.
7memorials - a statue or structure built to remind of person or event
  • There is memorial in New York for the people who died in the September 11th attacks.
8. has been restored - has been fixed, rebuilt, repaired, renovated to be as it was originally *To restore sth - to return sth old to its original condition
  • The church in my town is being restored at the moment.
9. history buffs - people who are know a lot about History *A buff - (noun)  someone who knows a lot about a particular subject. (usually used with ‘History buff’ and ‘movie buff’)
  • My friend is a movie buff. He has seen every movie that exists!
10. Packed - (adjective) full
  • The bar was packed after the match.
11. narrow lanes - small streets (in width) *Narrow - (adjective) small in width *Lane - (noun) small street or path
  • The streets in the old city are too narrow to drive through.
  • John lives in the house at the end of that lane.
12. Cobblestoned - adjective used to describe a street that is made with natural rounded stones. 13. medieval world - from the period of time called the ‘middle ages’ when a lot of castles were built. 14. been largely overlooked by tourists - tourists didn’t considered Bulgaria as a (good) place to visit *To overlook sth - to fail to notice or consider sth or sb
  • The accountant said that she had overlooked some of the expenses when she did the accounts.
15. Tombs and monuments, temples and jewels…… *Tombs - place underground built of rock where sb is buried, usually someone important *Temples - a building where people go to worship their god *Jewels - precious stones and jewelry that have a high value. 16. ancient Thrace - geographic and historical region of Greece and Bulgaria 17. stunning parks - (adjective) beautiful, visually amazing
  • She looked stunning in her wedding dress.
18. Valencia is renowned for - Valencia is known or famous for *to be renowned (for something) - to be known for something, to have a good reputation for something.
  • People from Ireland are renowned for being very welcoming to foreigners.
19. charming traditional neighbourhoods - delightful or attractive traditional neighbourhoods *Charming (adjective) - delightful, attractive
  • Charming men always get what they want. (If somebody is charming they are able to make people like them or become attracted to them)
20. Flora -  plant life occurring in a particular region 21. Travel broadens the mind - this means travel helps you to understand the world and become more accepting of other people, cultures and their beliefs.
  • Learning another language broadens the mind.
21. Grab your bags - take your bags in your hands quickly and with force. To grab - (verb) to take something in your hand suddenly and roughly.
  • The thief tried to grab the woman’s handbag.

Practice Exercises in English

Comprehension Questions Find the answers to these questions in the article..

  1. What is Verdun most renowned for?
  2. Why do people like to visit Bruges?
  3. What still exists from the time of ancient Thrace in Bulgaria?
  4. What is Valencia famous for?
  5. Why is the Kvarner Gulf worth a visit?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ? Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.

  1. Not many tourists visited Bulgaria in the past.
  2. Valencia has narrow streets made of cobblestone.
  3. The city Verdun has been rebuilt or restored since WW1.
  4. The Kvarner Islands are a popular tourist spot.
  5. Valencia is a small town in Spain.
  6. Bruges is a very old city with ancient architecture.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. I bought a house in the countryside. I am going to …………. it and live in it. (fix, rebuild)
  2. Prague and Edinburgh are two examples of …………. cities in Europe. (from time period called the ‘middle ages’)
  3. The hotel is not very modern but it is ………….. (delightful, attractive)
  4. …………. your jacket! We need to leave now! (take it quick)
  5. France and Italy are …………. for their food. Germany and Ireland are …………. for their beer. (famous for, know for)
  6. Before I went to work I wrote a list of …………. for the cleaner to do in my house. (small jobs to do)
  7. The views from the mountain are ………….. (beautiful)
  8. Reading about different religions …………. ……. .….. (makes you more accepting)
  9. I heard about a new restaurant in town that is cheap and has good quality food. I want to …………. it ……… . (try, have a look)
  10. The company interviewed 20 people for a new job but they ………... ………. their choice to 5 people who were called for a second interview. (made their choice smaller)

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE

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Why you shouldn't be afraid of flying!

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

English Vocabulary:15 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE


Are you afraid of flying?

Many people are afraid of flying in airplanes, but they shouldn't be. Flying is actually one of the safest ways to travel. In fact, when measured per mile, flying is actually far safer than driving, or travelling by train. Not only is flying the safest mode of transport, but it is also the fastest. Just a hundred years ago if you wanted to travel from China to the United States, you would have to travel by boat for many weeks. Now, you can get there in less than 24 hours. Airplanes are also quite comfortable, and often offer in-flight entertainment, such as movies. This helps explain why travelling by plane is now the preferred choice for long distance journeys. Of course, that doesn't stop some people from being afraid of flying. The idea of hurtling through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour can be intimidating for many. One of the main reasons that people are afraid to fly is that passengers lack any control over the airplane, and have to place their trust in the hands of the pilots. Many people would prefer to remain in control! “Really?”, you ask. Comparing the number of deaths caused by cars, trains, and airplanes is very difficult. Many more people drive than fly. The easiest way to compare deaths is per billion kilometers. This means, how many people will die per billion kilometers travelled? Motorcycles, for example, are very dangerous and 108.9 people will die per every billion kilometers traveled. Cars are less dangerous, with 3.1 people dying per billion kilometers. Trains are quite safe, with only 0.6 people dying per billion kilometers traveled. Subway and metro rails are even safer, with only 0.24 people dying per billion kilometers traveled. Do you know what's even safer? Air travel! Only 0.05 people were killed per billion kilometers. This is far lower than most other forms of transportation. Commercial flying is especially safe. When a commercial aircraft crashes, it gets a lot of attention. Sometimes, hundreds of people can die in a single crash. Yet part of the reason these crashes get so much attention is because they are so rare. In fact, aviation accidents involving civilian aircraft carrying 19 or more people have actually declined over the years. In 1972, there were more than 40 accidents. In 2014, there were fewer than ten. This is especially reassuring given that there are far more people flying now than there were in 1972. Most crashes that do occur actually involve smaller personal planes, which lack the advanced features found in modern commercial aircraft. Another reason people fear flying is “terrorist attacks”. Terrorist attacks are extremely rare, however. You are far more likely to die of the common flu, than you are to die from a terrorist attack. Furthermore, increased security at airports and on airplanes makes it even less likely that a terrorist attack will bring down an airplane.

The safest place to be.

When it comes to traveling, flying is arguably the safest, fastest, and most comfortable way to travel. While the concept may seem scary, the modern aviation industry takes safety very seriously and modern aircraft are now extremely safe. You would be more likely to die travelling by bicycle or even on foot. So don’t worry! As the pilot says, “sit back, relax and enjoy your flight!”

Language Focus


English Vocabulary and Expressions

  1. far - (adverb) by a great amount, much
  2. mode of transport - (noun) a method or type of transport (e.g. a train, a bus, a motorcycle)
  3. hurtling - (verb) moving at a high speed in an uncontrolled manner
  4. intimidating - (adjective) describing something that makes you feel frightened or nervous
  5. lack - (verb) to not have enough of something
  6. in the hands of someone - (expression) controlled or owned by someone, the responsibility of someone
  7. remain in control - stay in control, keep control
  8. especially - (adverb) to a greater degree
  9. rare - (adjective) not common, not happening very often
  10. civilian - (adjective) relating to ordinary citizens, not military or commercial
  11. declined - (verb) became smaller or fewer, decreased
  12. reassuring - (adjective) making you feel less worried
  13. bring down - (phrasal verb) to cause to fall
  14. flu - a sickness - a cold
  15. arguably - (adverb) it can be argued (used when giving an opinion that you think can be shown to be true)

Practice Exercises in English


Comprehension Questions Find the answers to these questions in the article.

  1. Why do many people prefer travelling by air?
  2. What is the main reason many people fear flying?
  3. Why do commercial plane crashes get a lot of attention?
  4. What is another reason people might be afraid to fly?
  5. Why are terrorist attacks unlikely to cause a plane crash?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ? Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.

  1. Motorcycles are the most dangerous form of travel.
  2. Travelling by car is more dangerous than travelling my plane, but safer than travelling by train.
  3. Subways and metro rails are the second safest mode of transportation after air travel.
  4. There have been more commercial aircraft crashes in recent years than in the past.
  5. You are less likely to die of a terrorist attack than you are to die of the common flu.
  6. You are less likely to die on a bicycle or on foot than flying.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. The number of students studying music ………... last year. (became smaller or fewer, decreased)
  2. I was worried about Mary but it was ………... to talk to her on the phone. (adj- making you feel less worried)
  3. Russia is …………... cold in winter. (particularly, to a greater degree)
  4. Bob suffers from a ……….. disease. Not many people have it. (not common)
  5. There were a high number of ………….. deaths caused by the military invasion. (ordinary citizens or people)
  6. Steven Spielberg is ………...the best film director in the world. (it can be argued)
  7. John went …………. down the slope the first time he went skiing. (moving at a high speed in an uncontrolled manner)
  8. A Ferrari is ………. more expensive than a regular family car. (much, a lot)
  9. There are many ………….. of transport to choose from in my city such as buses, trams or metro trains. (types)
  10. The people were hungry because they ………. Food. (didn't have enough)

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE

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Why Learning English is Essential in Today’s Globalised World

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

Language Focus:21 words Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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English might not be the most widely spoken language in the world (that honour goes to Chinese), but it is the world’s second most spoken language. It’s spoken as a foreign language by a massive 603 million people - more than double Arabic, in third place. English is the most popular second language in countries as far apart as Suriname, Denmark, Israel and Singapore. If you want to speak to the world, learn English.

English Language in Business:

The trend towards English is being led by international businesses; both Chinese electronics company Lenovo and German airline Lufthansa are now using English as their official language. Using English makes it possible for businesses to recruit the best talent from across the world and opens up their product to new markets. Employees who are hoping for a promotion or want to make their CV stand out should consider sharpening their English skills. If you can communicate with clients and suppliers of a company no matter what country they’re based in, then your skills are invaluable to an employer.

English Language in Education:

English is doubly important to anyone working in an academic discipline. According to research, 80% of the peer-reviewed journals in Scopus, the biggest database of journals, are published in English, and a report by the British Council in 2014 found that in a growing number of countries university subjects are being taught in English instead of the native language. If you want your papers to be read by scientists across the world, or you want to work with colleagues in other countries, you need to be able to talk to them in English.

English Language in Entertainment:

It’s not only academic writing that is mostly published in English. More books are published each year in English than in any other language, and Hollywood and its English-language films still dominates the industry. Of course, you can read translations or watch with subtitles, but these never quite match the experience of the original. The internet, too, is close to 54% English, according to the Web Technology Surveys. If you’re searching for information online then you’re much more likely to find what you’re looking for if you use English.

English Language for Travel:

Travel to most countries is easier if you speak their language, but it’s not possible to learn the language for every single country you might want to visit. It’s fairly likely, though, that you’ll be able to find someone who speaks English in most major cities in the world. People who work in the tourist industry learn English, so you will have no trouble understanding people at your hotel, on the plane or at a tourist site if you speak English.


The world is getting smaller, and globalisation is here to stay. We live in a time when changes in one country’s economy affect markets in the rest of the world, and where pollution from one country can damage everyone’s environment. These problems can only be solved if we co-operate across national boundaries, and to do that we have to have a common language. Whether you love it or hate it, the future is English.

Language Focus 

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. widely - (adverb) over a large area or range, by the biggest group of people
  • The band’s CD was widely available. It was in many shops in many locations.
2. honour - (noun) a privilege, a very good thing, something of high respect
  • It is an honour to be invited to your wedding.
3. as far apart as - (expression) as distant as
  • There were fans at the concert from as far apart as Iceland and Samoa.
4. trend - (noun) fashion, direction things are moving in or changing
  • The trend these days is for people to get married later in life than they used to.
5. official language - (noun) a language given special status through which business is conducted 6. recruit - (verb: to recruit) to hire or enrol someone as a worker or member of an organisation
  • During the war, John was recruited to the army.
7. promotion - (noun) the action of promoting someone to a higher position in a company, usually with higher wages and more responsibility
  • After five years with the company, Bob got a promotion from assistant manager to manager.
8. stand out - (Phrasal verb: to stand out )be clearly better or more significant than someone or something 9. sharpening - (verb: to sharpen) making sharper, improving
  • Mary took a course in information technology in order to sharpen her computer skills.
10. skills - (noun) abilities, talents
  • John’s skills in the kitchen are terrible. He can’t even cook an egg properly.
11. no matter what - its not important what…. 12. invaluable - (adjective) extremely useful, important
  • The knowledge I gained on the first aid course was invaluable.
13. doubly - (adverb) two times the normal amount
  • Speeding is stupid, but not wearing a seatbelt as well is doubly stupid.
14. peer-reviewed journals - (noun) journals where the research work of an expert is published only after it has been examined by other experts in the same subject (i.e. his peers - people of the same status as the expert) 15. database - (noun) structured data or information stored in a computer and accessible in different ways
  • Google store all your information in a huge database.
16. colleagues - (noun) people you work with
  • Frank gets on well with his colleagues. They are fun to work with.
17. dominates - (verb: to dominate) have power and influence over sth, to be the biggest or best in sth
  • The companies Apple and Samsung dominate the smartphone market.
18. match - (verb: to match) be equal to, to be the same as
  • Swimming in an indoor swimming pool can never match the experience of swimming in the ocean.
19. have no trouble doing sth - it will be easy…... 20. co-operate - (verb) work together to achieve the same results, assist someone or comply with their requests.
  • If we co-operate, we can achieve more than we can alone.
21. boundaries - borders between countries, limits or edge of sth


Comprehension Questions

Find the answers to these questions in the article..
  1. Why is there a trend for English to be used in international businesses?
  2. How is speaking English beneficial for someone working in an academic discipline?
  3. What is the relationship between English and entertainment?
  4. Why is it good to learn English for travel?
  5. How can English help the effects of globalization?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ?

Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.
  1. English is the most widely spoken language in the world.
  2. Some companies based in non-English speaking countries have made English their official language.
  3. Many universities is non-English speaking countries are teaching subjects in English.
  4. English is the second most popular language for book publishing.
  5. The majority of the internet is in English.
  6. It is difficult to find someone who speaks English when travelling.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES

Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.
  1. The ………… ………….. of Ireland are English and Irish. (accepted languages)
  2. There are many ………… …………..  available in my university’s library. (research papers reviewed by experts)
  3. The soldier considered it an …………….to have fought for her country. (privilege, sth of high respect)
  4. Mary has a policy to never date her ……………. (people she works with)
  5. Frank spent many hours on the gun range …………… his shooting skills. (improving)
  6. Game of Thrones is one of the most …………… known TV shows, it is watched all over the world. (over a large area, by the biggest group of people)
  7. Mary was …………… by Citibank as a financial analyst. (hired)
  8. You need a passport to cross most national ……………. (borders)
  9. After five years with the company, Bob got a …………… from assistant manager to manager. (a higher position in the company)
  10. The police asked the witnesses to …………… with the investigation. (assist someone or comply)

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Reading Article in English with exercises image

The origins and meaning of Thanksgiving

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers. English Vocabulary:13 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays in the United States and Canada. Unlike many other American holidays, Thanksgiving isn't about gifts, fireworks shows, or games, it’s about being with family, and giving thanks and celebrating your blessings. Christians pray and give thanks to God but many non-Christian Americans celebrate Thanksgiving too. The modern Thanksgiving holiday is based on the Thanksgiving harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims, who were early English settlers. The Pilgrims landed in Plymouth Bay in modern-day Massachusetts in 1620. They celebrated Thanksgiving after their first successful harvest in 1621. That first holiday lasted for three days, and was attended by both Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans and celebrated the friendship between them. During the previous winter, the Pilgrims had struggled to survive. Their crops had died in the sandy soil and they had trouble finding food. The winter in Massachusetts was much harsher than the winters back in England. Half the Pilgrims died and many more were at risk of dying. The local Native Americans provided the Pilgrims with food and supplies during the winter. The next summer, they also taught the Pilgrims several important survival skills, such as how to grow corn and catch eel. This festival marked one of the first friendly exchanges between European settlers and Native Americans. Historically, Thanksgiving was celebrated at a time when most farmers were finished harvesting their crops. They would have a big dinner with their family and closest friends to celebrate their blessings and harvests. President Abraham Lincoln later established the tradition of a national and annual Thanksgiving holiday. While most Americans are no longer farmers, the tradition of celebrating blessings and food remains and the holiday is still held at harvest time, on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. fireworks shows - (noun) a show where fireworks are used - also known as firework displays. Fireworks -  explosive rockets that shoot up into the air and explode with loud noises, bright colours and different shapes. They are used at various celebrations and festivals.
  • We went to see a fireworks display at Halloween.
2. blessings - (noun) something that you are grateful for
  • To be healthy is a blessing. Good health is something to be thankful for.
3. harvest - (noun) the time of year when crops (food grown on a farm) are gathered or collected.
  • There is always a lot of work to be done during the harvest.
4. settlers - (noun) people who settle/decided to stay in in a place and make it their home English settlers - first English to arrive and settle in America
  • The settlers treated the natives very badly.
5. lasted - continued for a period of time, have a duration of.. (past simple of verb: to last)
  • The strike lasted 5 days.
  • The football match lasted 90 minutes.
6. struggled - tried hard to achieve something with great difficulty (past simple of verb: to struggle)
  • The passenger struggled to carry his heavy bags.
7. crops - (noun) plants that are grown commercially on a farm, such as fruit, grain and vegetables
  • Harvest is the time when the crops are gathered.
8. harsher - (adjective) more harsh, more difficult to survive in, more severe
  • The higher the wind speed, the harsher the sea is during a storm.
9. survival skills - (noun) skills, knowledge or abilities that help you to survive, that help you to stay alive
  • In the army, soldiers must use survival skills they have learned to stay alive in the wild.
10. eel - (noun) a fish which lives in the water and is long and thin like a snake which can be caught and eaten as food 11. annual - (adjective) happening once a year
  • My birthday is an annual event.
12. no longer - not anymore
  • John no longer lives in London, he moved to New York in 2014.
13. Held - to organise an event in a place , to have an event (past simple of verb: to hold an event)
  • The concert was held in the stadium.

Practice Exercises in English

Comprehension Questions

Find the answers to these questions in the article.
  1. What is the origin of the modern Thanksgiving holiday?
  2. What was celebrated at the first Thanksgiving?
  3. Why did many Pilgrims die in 1620-1621?
  4. How did the Native Americans help the Pilgrims in Massachusetts?
  5. Why is Thanksgiving still celebrated every year nationwide in the United States?

Comprehension Questions: True or False?

Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.
  1. Thanksgiving is celebrated all over the world.
  2. Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday.
  3. Popular traditions on Thanksgiving include gift giving, firework shows and games.
  4. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by English settlers in 1621 because they had a successful harvest that year.
  5. Because most Americans are no longer farmers, Thanksgiving is no longer celebrated during harvest time.
  6. Thanksgiving is not celebrated at the same time in Canada and the United States.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES

Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.
  1. Our vacation ………... 2 weeks. (had a duration of)
  2. Frank and Mary are …………….. married. They got divorced last year. (not anymore)
  3. Many European …………. arrived in America in the 15th century. (people who decide to live in a place)
  4. Frank the farmer grows ……... such as corn and carrots. (plants grown on a farm)
  5. Cockroaches can live in ……... environments than humans. (more difficult)
  6. Children who join the scouts learn a lot of new ……… …….... (things you learn which will help you survive)
  7. Your children are a ………….. .They bring you a lot of joy. (sth that you are grateful for)
  8. When John graduated from college during the financial crisis, he …………. to find a job. (found it difficult)
  9. Our city has a ……….. ………... every New Year’s Eve. (event to celebrate sth with small rockets)
  10. An example of an …………... holiday is Saint Patrick’s Day. (happens every year)

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